Top 3 Georgia State Panthers to watch for the 2021 NFL Draft

Led by Shamarious Gilmore (No.75), Georgia State Football prepares to take the field during a home game from the 2019-20 season. Photo by Matt Siciliano-Salazar | The Signal

As the college football season creeps closer, the post-Dan Ellington era begins, and for three particular players, the season potentially raises their stock for the 2021 NFL Draft. The fall could be crucial in deciding their fate beyond a Panthers’ uniform. There are currently four former Georgia State players in the NFL, but these are three more who will hopefully join them in 2021.

1. Shamarious Gilmore, Left Guard

Starting off with the best overall prospect, we have Gilmore aka “Quion,” who is, without a doubt, the most pro-ready Panther on the team. The Panthers have been praised for the strength of their offensive line and Gilmore has been a critical part of the success.

“Without him, the Panthers don’t get off to their hot start,” 247Sports’ Ben Moore said. “He’s  one of our best players on the offense right now.”

Like many offensive linemen, Gilmore is overshadowed by fans but has been an All-Sun Belt selection every season at Georgia State. Last season, Pro Football Focus ranked Gilmore as the second-best offensive lineman in the Conference behind Louisiana’s Kevin Doctson who was taken in the fourth round by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2020 NFL Draft. 

While linemen may not be the “sexy” position between the end zones, the position can provide a gem, and Gilmore could be a hidden one for a pro team. Another stellar season will attract many NFL scouts to Credit Parc Stadium to watch Gilmore, who could hear his name called in Cleveland.

2. Roger Carter, Tight End

At 6 feet 2 inches and 250 pounds, Carter has the size and athleticism to impress in the NFL and have a solid career. His productivity was crucial to the Panthers’ great start in the 2019-20 season. In his 34 career games at Georgia State, Carter has 53 receptions and six touchdowns.

While those numbers are not eye-popping, he has been one of the better tight ends in the conference. Carter came into his own at the position after sharing the position with Camrin Knight. There are many teams who could use another tight end on their offense and Carter could develop under veteran tight end in the league.

3. Noel Ruiz, Kicker

If Noel Ruiz is drafted out of Georgia State, the school should be known as “KickerU” from now on. A North Carolina A&T graduate transfer, Ruiz will look to raise his draft stock in his only season with the Panthers. During his time in the FCS, he received an All-American nod, nailing 23 out of 27 kicks in the regular season last year. 

It also helps that Georgia State has had recent success with their kickers. New Orleans Saints’ Wil Lutz holds a Pro-Bowl section under his belt and, most recently, Brandon Wright being signed by Jacksonville. While it is rare for a kicker to be drafted, it does happen and Ruiz could be the next kicker from the Panthers to hear his name called. Moore believes Ruiz definitely has a shot at being drafted come April. 

“If Ruiz has another big season in 2020, he absolutely is an NFL draft prospect,” Moore said. “Georgia State already has one of the league’s best kickers in Wil Lutz.”

The 2020 season is set to be a landmark year for Georgia State as they enter a new era in their program. With a big year from each of the players stated above, Georgia State could add to their NFL resume. With the season only weeks away, it is on these players to punch their ticket into the NFL draft.